(JTA) — A senior police officer in the French city of Marseille said that if he were a Jew who cared about his country, he would leave for Israel and join its army.
Gilles Gray, secretary of the city’s prefect of police, made the statement last week at the prefecture during a conversation with Kurdish activists protesting what they describe as insufficient action to save Kurds in Syria and Iraq from assaults by the ISIS jihadist group.
“Your brethren are there, but you are here, causing trouble in Marseille,” Gray told the activists in the conversation, whose recording was obtained by the Marseillaise daily and published online Tuesday. “It’s like with the Jewish community. Me, if I were a Jew in Marseille who cared about my people and country, I would be in the Israeli army, not in Marseille.”
Marseille, in southern France, is home to the country’s second-largest Jewish community with approximately 60,000 people.
Gray added that demonstrations by Kurdish activists distract police from preventing terrorist activities on French soil.
“When we’re busy with you, we don’t protect the schools,” he is heard saying.
One of the delegates said he hoped Gray was telling the truth, to which he replied: “I never lie. I’m a Protestant. It’s a flaw of mine; I tell it like it is.”